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‘Education is the third eye of a child.’

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KISS, established in 1992-93 by renowned educationist and social activist Prof Dr Achyuta Samanta, is the world’s largest residential tribal university, home to 30,000 indigenous students who are provided nutrition and holistic formal and vocational education from KG to PG levels, absolutely free of cost. The institution is dedicated to the empowerment of students from marginalized and underprivileged groups, so they can become the agents of change for their communities and bring them emancipation from acute poverty through their education.

It is said that life’s uncertainties give birth to glorious certainty. Anybody can grow into a full-fledged personality, if given the right environment and opportunities. This is like a bud blooming into a beautiful flower and spreading its fragrance. Let us analyse the case of Rajesh Jakasika in this context. Rajesh was born into a very poor but large family consisting of five siblings and his parents, in a remote village in the Rayagada district. His father used to labour hard to make both ends meet, but he understood the value of education. Though his financial status did not permit it, he dreamt of providing a good education to his children and making them stand on their own feet. The fame of KISS, had reached Rayagada, a place where children hardly have the scope of education. But where even the efforts of the government had failed, the vision and missionary zeal of Prof Achyuta Samanta succeeded in bringing marginalized people into mainstream society.

The Superintendent of Police, Rayagada also played a crucial role in getting a number of children from the community of the Dongaria Kondha tribe admitted to KISS, where they could see the light of day and make their district proud. Rajesh’s father did not let go of this lifetime opportunity to educate his second son. He lacked the means to provide education to all his children but concentrated all his efforts on Rajesh in the hope that he would become a disciplined boy and bring glory to his family and village. Though a bright student, Rajesh had been languishing in the village, where there were no good opportunities to further his studies. Now with his wishes fulfilled, his father has to worry no longer about his son’s studies and ancillary expenses which were taken care of by KISS. His father was grateful to the SP for facilitating this.

At KISS, Rajesh entered a brave new world. The comfort of nature’s lap and the circle of teachers and friends at KISS gave him a new life and vision. In addition to getting an ideal education, he could avail the opportunity to sharpen other skills like playing chess. Rajesh has exhibited his talents and even topped the state-level chess competition which came with a big monetary award. His father’s joys now know no bounds. Tears of joy roll down his cheeks when he celebrates his son’s achievements. All this has been possible due to the selfless care and hand holding of Prof Samanta who is now a father figure and role model for Rajesh. He is aware that had it not been for KISS, he would not have reached far in life. Gone are the days when his parents struggled to provide him the basics of life.

Rajesh is now in Class X and is able to fulfil the long-cherished dreams of his father with the support of good people and a supportive environment. He is confident that one day he will become a chess grandmaster and also excel in his studies and bring glory to KISS as well as his community. KISS has put him on the path to progress. He is getting opportunities to develop his craft, while getting formal education. He is also happy because KISS is helping him keep up his culture and heritage. He is on the way to become a path-breaking agent of change for his village.

Rajesh’s story is set to become an eternal river which will flow ahead and inspire many underprivileged children to achieve new heights in their life by creating their own destinies. This case study is a bright example of how the country’s vernacular systems of education can be empowered. Although it is believed that unless one is educated in English-medium systems at the primary, secondary and higher secondary levels, he can never make his mark on society or aspire to achieve success, KISS is a shining example of how children from very humble backgrounds can crack all-India exams like JEE and NEET even after studying in an Odia-medium institution. Further, KISS has reversed the saga of dropouts by linking formal education with proper nutrition. Educationists and policymakers may take a note of this.

The national government can also take steps to strengthen the school system in vernacular languages with the proper manning of teachers, the introduction of vocational education, and reducing the number of dropouts. Sustainable development is also at the core of KISS programmes since the beginning and is a goal which is also shared by the students who wish to live in a world free from poverty, hunger and illiteracy.

Prof Achyuta Samanta, founder of Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) and Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS)

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SURAT TEACHERS ORDERED TO REGISTER COVID DEAD BODIES

Abhijit Bhatt

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Surat Corporation has gone too far in handing over the responsibility of Covid-19 management to its employees. Teachers have been assigned Covid-19 work. They are given the task of registering the bodies coming for the funeral. Teachers, along with SMC (Surat Municipal Corporation) employees, will also be on duty in three shifts of eight hours each. It’s teachers responsibility to ensure that there is no disruption in the registration of the bodies coming to the crematorium.

During the pandemic, all SMC employees were assigned different tasks, in which the teachers were asked to be outside the homes of the infected Covid patients.

There were orders to go with Dhanvanri Rath to carry out survey work, and distribute food grains, which were performed by the teachers as part of their duty amid such a difficult situation in the city.

At that time, the teachers who were assigned to the operation of the cemetery have been put in a dilemma.

A teacher, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “The process of registering a body in a cemetery is not appropriate for us.. We made a presentation for our Teachers’ Union last night on this matter. We were given a message about this operation through social media. The Union has informed our appointees to cancel this order. Union officials have also vowed to inform the Municipal Commissioner and the State government about handing over the work to teachers.”

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UTTARAKHAND CM RAWAT CONFIDENT TO CONDUCT HARIDWAR KUMBH MELA SAFELY

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Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat on Friday said that the state government is determined to conduct Haridwar Kumbh Mela safely.

He inaugurated the Command and Control Room and Adarsh Barrack of the Police Surveillance System built for the Kumbh Mela, at the CCR Tower in Haridwar.

On this occasion, the Chief Minister said that the state government is fully committed to the modernization of the police.

He said, “Our government is determined to conduct Haridwar Kumbh Mela safely. 310 CCTV cameras have been installed in the area. Command and Control Room of Police Surveillance System has been set up at CCR Tower, Haridwar.”

(With ANI inputs)

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CELEBRATIONS IN JAMMU AFTER THE RELEASE OF COBRA COMMANDO BY NAXALS

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As soon as the news of Rakeshwar Singh Manhas’ release reached Jammu, there were celebrations not only in his village but in other adjacent villages as well. Earlier his wife Meenu had appealed to the government that her husband should be rescued from the Naxals and the Congress leaders of the Jammu region visited the family and made her talk to the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister who assured all help and action.

People in the villages adjacent to his hometown were glued to television sets and expressed their joy when he stepped out of an ambulance as shown by different media channels.

Meenu Manhas exclaimed, “This is the happiest moment in our lives. Hope never died though we were anguished for his safe return. I am thankful to the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh and also to the Central government as everyone stood by us.”

Earlier, the relatives of Manhas and villagers protested and blocked the traffic for hours, appealing to the government to intervene and save him from the captivity of Naxals. He was posted in Chhattisgarh and was captured alive by the Naxals in a fierce gun battle in which dozens of his colleagues were killed while over 15 Naxals were also killed.

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DELHI SCHOOLS TO REMAIN SHUT FOR ALL CLASSES AMID COVID SURGE: KEJRIWAL

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Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal

NEW DELHI: The Delhi government on Friday announced that all schools will be shut given the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the national capital.

“Due to increasing cases of COVID-19, all schools, government and private, in Delhi are being closed for all classes till further orders,” the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted. Schools have been shut ever since the pandemic broke out last year but for those from Classes 9 to 12 had resumed their classes. The board examinations for Class 10 and Class 12 are slated for May-June.

Several other states and Union territories have also closed down schools and colleges to curb the surging infections.

Delhi on Thursday reported 7,437 fresh cases and 24 related deaths over the last 24 hours. As per the daily health bulletin, the total positive cases in the city now stand at 6,98,005, including 23,181 active cases and 6,63,667 recoveries. So far, 11,157 lives have been claimed by the infectious virus.

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Covid chaos in Gujarat, waiting list in hospitals, cemeteries & crematoria

Abhijit Bhatt

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The state of Covid-19 spread in Ahmedabad seems frightening. The scenario in various cemeteries and crematoria of the city is bad with people waiting for hours for the burial and cremation of the dead bodies.

A total of eight bodies were brought to a cemetery in Vadaj cemetery in the city for burial around the same time. There is also a two-hour wait for the funeral at Thaltej. Both chimneys are currently in operation at the city’s Vadaj crematorium, where relatives of the deceased have been seen waiting.

There are no vacant beds in hospitals because of the surge in Covid-19 cases. As the number of patients keeps on increasing, the beds are getting filled. In some hospitals there is no stock of injections and while at other hospitals videos of missing oxygen are emerging. Extremely heart-rending videos surfaced on Friday at the Vadaj Cemetery in Ahmedabad, where eight bodies were being prepared for burial while many others were waiting in the cemetery. Similar is the case with Thaltej cemetery in Ahmedabad.

As a result of the worsening situation due to Covid-19 in Gujarat, relatives have to wait in hospitals for as long as 12 hours to get the body of the deceased in cities like Rajkot and Surat. Not only that, even after getting the dead body, they have to wait for 8 to 10 hours for cremation. Worse, the rising death toll at Rajkot Civil Hospital is waiting not only for cremation but also for ambulances to take the dead bodies to the cemetery.

In the Nagarwada area of Vadodara, a 65-year-old man died of Covid-19 and his body had to be taken in a handcart as the ambulance was not available to take him to the crematorium.

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ALL-PARTY MEET TO DISCUSS LOCKDOWN IN MAHARASHTRA

State reports 58,993 Covid cases and 301 deaths in 24 hours.

Preeti Sompura

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In view of the alarming spike in Covid-19 cases in the state, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has called an all-party meeting on 10 April. The government will take stock of the Covid-19 situation in the state.

The meeting will be attended by prominent leaders of the three parties involved in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, leaders of BJP, MNS, API, SP, and others.

On Friday, State Disaster Management Minister Vijay Wadettiwar said that he has proposed a complete lockdown in the state, during a virtual meeting earlier in the day, given the continued spike in Covid-19 cases and upcoming festivals. While speaking to India Today, the Minister said that it was crucial to close all shops and establishments to break the chain of the pandemic.

“Every day we are witnessing 50,000 to 60,000 cases. We have 5.31 lakh active cases today. If the upsurge continues like this, we will have over 10 lakh active cases soon,” the Disaster Management Minister said to India Today. “If we have to break the chain, it’s not possible keeping half the shops and establishments open. In the virtual conference that took place today, I have suggested a strict lockdown of three weeks to break the chain,” the Minister said.

Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Pravin Darekar said the decision to organise the all-party meeting was taken this afternoon.

“This decision was taken during the meeting held today to decide the postponement of MPSC exams scheduled for Sunday,” he said.

When asked about the weekend lockdown that comes into force from Friday night, Darekar said the state government should decide on financially supporting small businesses.

Maharashtra Chief Minister will brief all parties regarding the covid situation. Maharashtra is planning a complete three weeks lockdown.

Maharashtra on Friday reported 58,993 coronavirus cases and 301 deaths in 24 hours amid a second wave of infections. Pune, with 10,084 Covid cases, was the worst-affected district today, followed by Mumbai with 9,200 single-day infections.

After the new additions, the total of active cases has reached 5,34,603. The state had reported 56,286 cases and 376 deaths on Thursday.

With Agency Inputs

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